How Does Gurinder Chadha Use Parody to Represent the Gender Stereotypes

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Gender stereotypes has always been a problem in our everyday society. We tend to forget how big of a problem this “problem” actually/always has been. These gender roles have substantially taken over our everyday lives and have manipulated us into thinking that we have to fulfill these gender roles. If these gender roles are being forced onto children like boys, then this may lead for the use of increased risk of substance abuse and suicide which may be the cause of men having shorter life expectancy than women.


  • Stereotypes- A widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type if person or thing. ‘the stereotype of the woman as the carer’ ‘sexual and racial stereotypes’
  • Gender- Either of the two sexes (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. This term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female.
  • Gender inequality- Social process by which people are treated differently and disadvantageously, under similar circumstances, on the basis of gender.
  • Gender stereotypes- These are one-sided and exaggerated images of men and women which are deployed repeatedly in everyday life.
  • Gender discrimination- A situation in which someone is treated less well because of their sex, usually when a woman is treated less well than a man.

Men’s sports have stuck around since the ancient times but the women’s soccer league did not start until 1863. There were some rumors that women have been playing soccer much previously, like closer to when the men’s sports have started. The soccer rules of the game were regulated in 1863 by the English Football Association. In 1920, two women’s soccer teams played against each other. This seemed like a very big achievement but the soccer league was threatened due to the amount of people in their stadium. This led to the English Football Association to ban women from playing soccer in the same field as men. But then it wasn’t until 1930 when France and Italy created women’s leagues and women had again started playing soccer “professionally”. After the World Wars I and II, women’s soccer leagues had started being made in countries all over Europe. In 1971, finally the ban had been lifted in England and this meant that women could play soccer once more.

I have talked about the ways of society portraying the gender roles in our everyday life. Perceiving how they show each of detailed information about soccer and how they do not get paid equally as the men’s soccer league.


Women’s soccer league (history and in India with how it is seen as a masculine sport)

Religions and beliefs in India about gender roles and gender stereotypes. In India, they believe that women are expected to take responsibility of their children while men work outside of the house. This illustrates how women are restricted and do not have much freedom as men do. In Hinduism, they believe that women play the second role and that they are always the second and under men, as a wife they live under the protection of men, they believe that women are always protected by their husbands. In patriarchy, women are most of the times seen as soft, gentle, delicate, emotional human beings and that it is their job to be protected by their partner, men, husband who are constantly seen as “tough”.

Of course, there are different beliefs and various traditions depending in particular countries around the world. Indian women have started to make their mark into the male-dominated areas in India and also, they have redefined their roles in the Indian society. Men in the Indian culture have started to accept these changes. Which they should, as our society has started becoming more unprejudiced and non-judgmental. But there are still thoughts of men where they don’t want to give the allowance of women having the same rights as men, or in other cases, some men do not want to share the accountabilities of the custody of a child. Which makes it difficult for women to work outside of their household. This is truly a discrimination for women as community has enhanced an image that all women have to stay home, take care of their children and work around the house. As most women speak, housewives are the most hard-working people as doing whatever it is in the house is equivalent to a full-time job. House wives are also not paid enough money as to how much work they are doing every single day, they are not so free as most people think they are.

Which comes to the next topic of religion. The characters are very religious which is followed by the name “Sikhism”. Sikhism is a religion founded by Guru Nanak. Guru Nanak is one of the first ten Sikh Gurus. He was born in 1469 in Nankana Sahib which is located in Pakistan. He died on September 22, 1539, Kartarpur, Pakistan. His body is buried in the same place he was born, which is in Pakistan.

Guru Nanak believes that all human beings can have direct access to god without the need of help by priests or rituals that are done. He mentions that there is no need to have help from people that can connect with god, humans can connect with their own gods whenever they would like. He has also taught that everybody is equal and has equal rights no matter what gender. The main characters in Bend It Like Beckham followed this religion. Even though Jess’s family followed this religion it seemed like they still had gender roles and men and women weren’t treated equally, in the same way. Which is very surprising as they seem like they are very religious and they even have a photo of Guru Nanak on their wall. The family shown in the movie is very believing of Guru Nanak and have very strong beliefs of what is right and what needs to be done in order to follow what their ancestors have believed in.

In the movie “Bend It Like Beckham”, we see an Indian girl (Jess) trying to pursue her dreams of being a professional soccer player but those dreams being hard to achieve due to the problems of gender roles, discrimination she faces being born to a family that have strong religious beliefs in the religion “Sikhism”. Due to this Jess starts elaborating different excuses in order to make her parents let her go outside and hangout with her friends, which are her “soccer” friends. But also, for her to hide the fact that she starts playing for the semi-professional team. The protagonists of the movie both face different yet similar challenges that are thrown their way. When her mother finds out, she immediately wants her to quit as she is afraid for her daughter to look masculine as she is playing soccer.

So, what makes the sport “soccer” look and seem masculine. Why does our sodality make it seem like it can’t be played by women? Or that women can play it but will make them seem masculine and man-like? There are different perspectives when it comes to the sport soccer. There are people who accept and are very supportive for women to play soccer. On the other side, the thought of women playing soccer is completely depraved and wrong. They are part of the reason that women are discriminated and not payed the same amount as men not only in the soccer industry but in many other industries.

One of the best Women’s Soccer League in the world is not accepting the fact that women’s soccer players are not getting equal amount of pay as much as the men’s soccer league. Women’s soccer league in India were not handled fairly as to the men’s soccer league. This is the reality of our world, it is very difficult and irksome for our society to have an idea how women should, could and need to be treated the same way as men. This is a debatable topic that comes under gender discrimination, inequality, and roles. But on the other hand, there are some women that act like hypocrites and protest about them not being treated equally in some parts as women may have more/ equal amount of advantages as men.

In the movie “Bend It Like Beckham”, we see an Indian girl (Jess) trying to pursue her dreams of being a professional soccer player but those dreams being hard to achieve due to the problems of gender roles, discrimination she faces being born to a family that have strong religious beliefs in the religion “Sikhism”. Due to this Jess starts elaborating different excuses in order to make her parents let her go outside and hangout with her friends, which are her “soccer” friends. But also, for her to hide the fact that she starts playing for the semi-professional team. The protagonists of the movie both face different yet similar challenges that are thrown their way. They come from different families

Gender roles and discrimination and multiculturalism plays a big role in this movie. As it is trying to show that it is okay to not fulfil the stereotype our society has. This movie is portraying that by showing us the powerful strength of Jess trying to fight for her dream and achieving her goal. By her achieving the goal and dream of what she always wanted to be is really interesting and powerful. This movie focuses between two major cultural differences. One being the Asian family that Jess’ was brought up in and the other being Juliette’s family, the British family.

Evidently there are major cultural differences between these two families the significant factor being the religion and they beliefs of their certain families. These factors are illustrated in a comical way, which makes it less offensive and cruel towards the global audiences. The fact that this movie is set in Britain but in a neighborhood where there is an Indian community is a big way of staging and merging the two completely different cultures together. Jess trying to figure out how to balance her tradition, religion and culture with her obsession of soccer is a very good way for us to see how Gurinder Chandha is trying to represent the balance the multiculturalism.

I have conducted primary research on this movie. I did this by watching interviews of Gurinder Chandha talking about her thoughts and feelings that she put in this movie that she has produced. Gurinder Chandha the co-writer of “Bend It Like Beckham”. She talks about why she had written Bend It Like Beckham, she says that she wants to spread the idea “You don’t have to follow the convention of what is expected of you”. Which is a very empowering thing that can be taken to heart and may help young women to accept themselves for who they are. In her interview where she is asked about her movie, she talks about how the movie is very important to her she writes to movie so that it can broaden the motive of how women are allowed to achieve and aim for their goals without any need for them to feel the acceptance by someone else like their relatives. Those ideas of “acceptance” are leading those women towards not achieving those goals that are wanted to be achieved by those women.

For my secondary research I have researched about the characters and their character analysis. How they are shown in the movie and how they affect the main protagonists in different ways. As each of these characters are the keys of how they show us the stereotypes that very common in our everyday world. I have also researched about the different literary devices that had been used in the movie to show the comical yet genuine and deliberate.


Jess Bhamra- she tries to be a good girl for her parents. As her dream is to play football professionally, she starts making up excuses in order to hide the fact that she starts playing for the semi-professional team of soccer. She is a Sikh.

Mrs. Bhamra- she is Jess’ mother. She is a very strict Indian parent, all she cares about is tradition, culture and keeping a good reputation so for her to find out that her daughter was playing soccer all along does not make her happy. She also has never stopped approving for Jess to play soccer but gradually she starts to accept the fact of her daughter playing soccer towards the end of the movie.

Mr. Bhamra- he is Jess’ father. He believes in the god, Guru Nanak and follows the religion of Sikhism. He was a bit of a closed book and he was hard to read as he never really spoke as much as the other characters in the start of the movie. Throughout the movie he starts to open up moderately and shows us what he truly believes makes him want Jess to not miss the opportunity for her to become a professional soccer player as it was his dream to become one too.

Juliette Paxton- she is Jess’ best friend which is the key for Jess to start playing soccer. Her nationality is British. She sees Jess playing with her friends on the field and invites her to play with her team that Juliette is in. Her goal in life is to become a professional soccer player and has a mother that does not accept the fact that her daughter wants to become a professional soccer player just like Jess.

Mrs. Paxton- Juliette’s mother plays a character where she introduces herself as an open-minded, and understanding woman but she comes out as the exact opposite. She is a very harsh woman that has stereotypes for lots and many people. Which shows some humor as she comes out as a complete hypocrite this shows irony between the character and the real person she actually is.

In this movie “Bend It Like Beckham”, there are literary devices used like many other movies there are. The literary devices used in this movie are:

  • Hyperbole- a way of speaking or writing that makes someone or something sound bigger, better, more, etc. than they are.
  • Persona- the particular type of character that a person seems to have and that is often different from their real or private character.
  • Parody- imitation of particular writer, artist, d or genre, exaggerating it deliberately to produce a comic effect.
  • Imagery- to use figurative language to represent objects, actions, and ideas in such a way that it appeals to our physical senses.
  • Irony (verbal or visual)- figurative of speech in which words are used in such a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual meaning of the words.
  • Satire- technique employed by writers to expose and criticize foolishness and corruption of an individual or society, by using humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule.

This first scene is set in Jess’ house where she is getting scolded by her mother of how she doesn’t want to learn any traditional cooking of any Indian dishes. She says that all Jess wants to do is to just play soccer with her male friends. Which her mother does not approve at all as she believes that an Indian woman should know how to cook traditional Indian meals and how to work around the house. Her mother thinks that it is better for a woman to stay at home, do all the chores and take care of the children as a most mothers are doing. She has a belief in herself that the mothers are the ones that are supposed to take care of their child and the men to work outside of the house and bring back money.

This shows us how there are stereotypes in gender roles and Jess is not fulfilling those stereotypes of what her mother has set up. Those stereotypes are what makes a woman a woman is what her mother Mrs. Bhamra believes. stereotypes that are faced towards women are not always correct and true. Most of the women these days do not know how to cook and they are living quite alright, men are switching roles and starting to work around the house while working outside of the house. This shows us that nowadays gender roles do not really matter, sometimes there are people who think the old-fashioned way as they may believe such gender roles/ stereotypes.

The second scene takes place at Juliette Paxton’s house. Juliette and her dad are playing soccer in her garden, when her mother comes and scolds her just like Jess’ mother does. Her dad is very sympathetic and understanding of Juliette’s dream of becoming a professional soccer player. Juliette’s mother says “When are you going to realize that you have a daughter with breasts, not a son!” to her father. This shows how her mother is setting a stereotype where it is not good when a woman plays any sports as they will seem manly and masculine. Her mother also says “no boy would want to go out with her”, she specifically means that the reason she thinks boys’ wont is the fact that she is playing soccer. Her mother simply just doesn’t want her daughter to seem “masculine” and “macho”. Though her father defends her and says that she can do whatever she wants the way she likes without being interrupted.

The third scene is set also set in Jess’ house. Furthermore, we can see that this scene is trying to portray the way Jess is trying to hide the fact that she is playing soccer while knowing that nobody in her family is supportive for her to play soccer. Likewise, this shows the belief of Sikhism, as they are taught that women are not allowed to play/participate in any type of sport or else they wouldn’t be able to get married at all. Sikhs believe that it is good to be married at a young age and to take care of children in the house and cook for their husbands. The more women know about how to make traditional Indian food the better and the more likely they will get married to a wealthy man.

This fourth scene that I had picked out that has slightly shown a bit of gender discrimination. This scene is diverted towards Juliette and this is set in a bra shop where she goes bra shopping with her mother, her mother tells her to buy normal bras that push up her breasts but Juliette doesn’t and her attention is averted towards the sports bra section. Her mother seems like she anticipated her daughter’s decision of picking sports bras. She then tries to bring her daughters attention to the more “normal” bras as she calls them. Juliette’s mother prefers for her daughter to wear something more elegant and feminine in other words more girly underwear. In the Paxton family’s culture, her mother allows/wants her daughter to become more girly and revealing as you can see from the way she almost forces her daughter to buy bras that are girlish and elegant.

These are some major scenes where gender discrimination is clearly shown, also with a little bit of comedy and parody mixed into it. The use of parody and comical-ness throughout the whole movie can be seen by the literary devices that have been used in the film. The way Gurinder Chandha uses these literary devices portrays a very funny yet very suitable way to tell a story of how everything is going to be okay and to not be scared and terrified of the whole word “acceptance”. She tells a story in which the gender stereotype is like it is softly wrapped into a bag full of humorous characters. I have a point of view in which in my opinion the characters play a huge role, they are presented very uniquely and all characters have very unique personalities and characteristics, these ways of presenting and characterizing those characters play a very big role when it comes to sending the message of how there is still gender stereotypes and discrimination in our world.


This essay incorporates the number of ways of how gender is seen in different perspectives and also how it is shown through different ways of expressing through mass medias. Then encompasses the different religions in India and how they are entangled with the idea of women playing soccer and how the women’s soccer industry had started. Which then is followed by the research of how soccer can/is being viewed as a “masculine” sport. Then we can see how the movie has been analyzed, how the film is weighing two significant interpretations of multiculturalism and gender discrimination towards women in the soccer industry. In this segment you will be able to see the different literary devices that are seen throughout the whole movie. The analysis element characterizes the different categories of discrimination/stereotypes and viewpoints of each person and society.

My thoughts towards the way the characters think about gender discrimination in India has me thinking of how old-fashioned the thought of each time Mrs. Bhamra scolds her daughter. I think that the way they think is very closed-minded and also stubborn. My argument towards this movie, especially the characters are, it is okay for a woman to play soccer, and to do whatever she pleases despite her tradition and culture. Yes, of course it is also very substantial to be religious and be attentive in the different traditions. As long as a woman has her life, tradition and her soccer life balanced out together, in my opinion I don’t think that there is any problem with doing what she truly loves and achieving her dreams as I think as a parent they would want true happiness for her daughter always and for her to achieve what she has always been dreaming for.


Gurinder Chandha used parody and comical-ness throughout the whole movie in order to wrap it in a soft shell where it cannot really hurt anyone’s feelings. My limitations that I have find out is the amount of words that can be fit into one criterion. The difficulty to express my thoughts with such less words but with very expressive words at the same time. Gender discrimination is actually eating our heads. This shows that this problem is going to be a bigger problem.

The main points in this essay is that people in India are still closed minded and old-fashioned. “And finally, in our time a beard is the one thing that a woman cannot do better than a man, or if she can her success is assured only in a circus.” This quotes gender equality where this person is talking about in this century that we are living in, the only section a woman cannot do good at is to grow a beard. Other than that, there are women that show that they are more successful than men. Both genders need to be treated equally with no differences.

Cite this paper

How Does Gurinder Chadha Use Parody to Represent the Gender Stereotypes. (2021, Jan 18). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/how-does-gurinder-chadha-use-parody-to-represent-the-gender-stereotypes/

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